Staying fit in the New Year

How to make great fitness goals and keep them

Kathryn Yslas
Mesa Legend

Katie YslasWhen the holidays roll around, more often than not, we tend to gain some rolls of our own. First comes Thanksgiving, with its annual spread of various pies topped with Cool Whip. And then comes Christmas, with all of the sugar, chocolate chip, snickerdoodle cookies you can eat.  And while some of us are content to guzzle champagne on Dec 31 without a second thought, there are those of us who ring in the New Year with a promise that this is the year we get healthy, the year we eat right, the one where we finally get the beach body we always wanted. Because as we all know, Spring Break is only a few months away… As metabolisms slow down, more and more college students are making fitness goals as they step into the new year’

Photo by Tania Ritko
Photo by Tania Ritko/Mesa Legend

Often times, as the year wanes, people who make resolutions to be more fit in the New Year abandon those goals by January 2. For students even more so, since trying to balance a busy school and work schedule leaves very little time for much else. But if one is truly dedicated and with a little bit of knowledge and some assistance along the way, anyone can become healthier in the New Year.   “The key is a plan,” said Emily Sargent, general manager of Planet Fitness Tempe. “The most successful people here all have a routine that they follow day in and day out and that’s what keeps them on track,” Sargent explained that Planet Fitness’s non- judgmental attitude is a perfect fit for any students wishing to become healthier in the New Year.

Planet Fitness as a company prides itself on the fact that anyone, whether they are a newbie or a fitness guru, can come to their gym and feel welcome and supported. For as little as $10 a month, members have access to the equipment as well as personal trainer who can create a program that’s tailored their needs. Along with a structured program, Sargent also stressed the importance of the fitness buddy system “Having a friend along with you during your workouts is great because you have someone there who’s gonna keep you accountable. They’ll be by your side every step of the way,” said Sargent.

With a gym secured and a fitness buddy by your side, you’re ready for the most challenging aspect of any workout: the workout itself.  Although results vary among individuals, there are a wide array of workout regimens that have been known to yield results and are easy to incorporate into a student’s busy lifestyle. One popular workout plan is High Intensity Interval Training or “HIIT”.

HIIT consists of 4-5 minutes of high intenisty cardio acttvities such as jogging or sprinting.  Because HIIT sessions are only intended to be thirty minutes long, they are easily incorparoted into a college student’s hectic schedule.  Jennifer R. Fay, a professor of exercise science at Mesa Community College explained the importance of selecting an exercise routine that you are realistically able to maintain. “You should do things that make you feel confident,” said Fay. “People often quite because they feel they aren’t any good at the excercises they’ve chosen. You can move on to harder, more intense workouts when you feel more confident,” Fay also said that finding oppurtunites to be active in your daily life can increase your drive towards a healthier year.

“Even if it’s just biking to work or parking in the space farthest from the door, all of it makes a difference,” said Fay. She explained that new research has pointed to the major shifts in metabolism taking place outside of the gym.  Another aspect of becoming a healthier this New Year is what you eat before and after your workout.  The merits of eating whole foods have been recently been brought to the forefront as well as trends in preparing foods in a healthier way.  “It’s all a little intimidating,” said Sargent “But if you just take the first step, it’ll all be worth it.”

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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